Why, Oh Why?

On the Branding of the Winter Park Library

Editor's Note: Articles written by citizens reflect their own opinions and not the views of the Winter Park Voice.  

Why, Oh Why?

Guest Columnist Michael Perelman

On March 26, 2018, the concept of creating a unique brand for the to-be-developed new Library and Events Center was brought to the Winter Park Commission. This concept arose from the Library and Events Center Task Force based on a recommendation by Sam Stark at the January 24, 2018 meeting of that Task Force. The recommendation presented was to use ‘The Canopy’ as the brand; this, is in spite of there being a local business already using that brand – the Canopy Café’.

The Commission made no determination at that meeting, but asked that the item be brought back with some style guides. This occurred on April 9 when a number of visuals were presented. These proposals included:

Winter Park Library at the Canopy 
The Venue at the Canopy
Rollin’s Softball at the Canopy
MLK Jr Park at the Canopy

On April 09, the Commission did not take a position, though Commissioner Seidel did highlight a concern about a ‘potential annexation’ of MLK Park.’ The proposal was tabled for further discussion at the next Commission meeting.

The topic did not appear on the agenda of the April 23 meeting; but, a number of members of the public (including myself) did raise the topic during the Citizen Comments part of the agenda. None spoke in favor of the branding concept; all were opposed.

To my mind, it is unclear why these new structures demand a unique brand. We already have a strong brand – Winter Park! Why must this be undermined? And, to suggest that MLK Park, and everything in it, should be a subset of the Canopy is to add insult to injury!

What we need is a ‘Winter Park Library,’ and a ‘Winter Park Events Center.’ These names are self-explanatory, and reflect our values as a community.

  • author's avatar

    By: Anne Mooney

    Anne Mooney has assumed the editorship of the Winter Park Voice from founding editor Tom Childers.

    Mooney got her start in New York as a freelance line editor for book publishers, among them Simon & Schuster and the Clarkson Potter division of Crown Books. From New York, she and her husband and their year-old toddler moved to Washington, D.C., where the two ran a newswire service for Harper’s magazine. “We called it Network News,” said Mooney, “because it was a network of the Harper’s writers, whose work we edited into newspaper style and format and sold to papers in the top U.S. and Canadian markets. We were sort of like a tiny UPI.”

    The newswire ceased operation with the death of Mooney’s first husband, but Mooney continued to write and edit, doing freelance work for Williams Sonoma cookbooks and for local publications in D.C.

    In 2005, Mooney moved to Winter Park, where she worked as a personal chef and wrote a regular food column for a south Florida magazine. She took an active interest in Winter Park politics and was there when the Winter Park Voice was founded. She wrote occasional pieces for the Voice, including the Childers bio that this piece replaces.

    The Winter Park Voice is one of a large number of “hyper-local” publications that have sprung up across the U.S. in response to the decline of the major daily newspapers and the resulting deficit of local news coverage. The Voice’sbeat is Winter Park City Hall, and its purpose is to help the residents of our city better understand the political forces that shape our daily lives.

  • author's avatar

30 replies
    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s see..leave us Winter Park, not metropolitan-venue city. ” I’ll meet you over at the Canopy?” What?

    • Sue Rudolph says:

      It doesn’t matter what you add on to it, to make it seem more trendy. It will be

      called by all the W.P. Community, “The Winter Park Library”, just as it has since

      the beginning! The same with the W.P. Events Center, easy to remember and

      it describes what it is very well. I thought we were a city of tradition. Let’s keep

      our traditions!

  1. Stu omans says:

    I agree that a library doesn’ t need branding. It’s not a cow. It’ OUR community library. If the collection and services grow, for example, a section, for local authors, a renewed service in computers problems, etc. nobody is going to care what it is called.

  2. Where's Leary? says:

    Anybody know why Mayor Leary has missed the last TWO City Commission meetings in a row, without so much as calling in to be hooked up on an audio conference, as is customary when commissioners cannot make it to the meeting in person?

    Leary has not been seen at a City Commission meeting since March 26, 2018 – over A MONTH ago.

    Vacationing with developer buddies at some lavish resort?
    Intensive training for the next planned catastrophe, fake news event, or run for another office?

    What gives?

    • Albert Michejda says:

      I agree with all comments so far. So much so, that I am curious about the hesitation in exhibiting civic pride through using the strongest brand in Central Florida, Winter Park Library. Library is a word/term for a place/repository of learning. It is hoped that this facility will not be a band shell, an amusement park or another tourist venue. It is a LIBRARY, that is what the citizens are paying for and expect. Further, a Canopy is an enclosure/tent, for events —interesting. If that name implies that it is an enclosure for elements or venues that this concept has not been able to afford, then what is the program on the basis of which this design was chosen. Interesting.

    • Anonomous says:

      The first one he missed was because he was extremely ill and the second one is because he had kidney stones… I’m pretty sure we can give him a pass for being sick.

  3. Jennifer Anderson says:

    I agree with this guest columnist.

    When you have a strong brand, why change the name? The Winter Park Library is a great name. I’m wondering why we’re making this so complicated? The name “canopy” is quaint, and perfect for a darling cafe. However, I’m aftaid it will confuse our visitors and diminish our WP brand.

  4. Daniel Charles Assael says:

    Winter Park’s Commission will soon decide on a Branding Exercise to name its new Library & Events

    Center. We urge them to consider a better alternative.

    This signature addition to Winter Park needs a name in keeping with established traditions in Winter Park.

    The suggested name “Canopy” would do the opposite, by identifying it as separate from Winter Park, and

    confusing it with Winter Park’s tree canopy.

    A successful name will do two things; identify directly with Winter Park itself, and encompass the library,

    events center, Rollins Softball and MLK Park, as a common meeting place for all.

    The founding of Winter Park was inspired by the beautiful traditions of the towns of New England. One of

    the best, dating back to 1634, is the oldest and most venerable public meeting place in the nation, Boston


    Let such greatness guide a wise choice now.

    An old name for this new place would serve it well. The name should be Winter Park Common.

    That would make common sense for an uncommon place.

  5. Insanity at the Canopy says:

    How about “Insanity at the Canopy?”

    That would about sum up the entire mess commissioners are making of MLK Park.

    1) YOU pay the tax increase it creates.
    2) YOU sit in the extra traffic it will cause.
    3) YOU lose your existing library and location that you like just fine.
    4) YOU got to vote on the bond, but not to have someone independent of the election verify that your votes were counted accurately.
    5) YOU don’t get to choose the location.
    6) YOU don’t get to choose the name
    7) YOU don”t get to choose the design..
    8) YOU don’t get to bid on naming rights.
    9) YOU don’t have a right to ensure that making rights go for a fair, market price, and not to somebody’s crony at a below market price.
    10) YOU don’t have any rights to MLK Park.

    You pay for it. But it’s not yours.

    That’s because you were foolish enough to vote for a City Charter that gave all those rights to only THREE of your fellow citizens (a majority of the five member City Commission). THREE residents have all the rights, and THIRTY THOUSAND residents have NO rights.

    Canopy is a horrible, but fitting name. Canopy is a word meaning cover.

  6. Don Thompson says:

    Calling a library by another name, as THE CANOPY, proves my point. This is NOT a library for learning and research. This is an Event Center for the rich and party group; under the false pretense of getting the money from many who will not use it. A center of learning would please me more.

  7. Janis Fuller says:

    I like ‘Winter Park Library’…….and ‘Winter Park Events Center’………not with ‘At the Canopy’ added to it/anything….

  8. Need a “brand”??? says:

    To my knowledge no other libraries in the area have a brand….

    Perhaps somebody has some nearby land they intend to develop into high density townhomes they will call “crowded at the canopy” “profit at the canopy” you know, to capitalize on the “brand”???

  9. Canopy = Covered Racism says:

    “The Canopy” is a part of a series of steps taken over the years by City of Winter Park to move black people out of the West Side, and in their place move white people in.

    The Hanibal Square commercial re-development was a step.

    The building of the Community Center was a step.

    The attempted, but failed, building of a minor league baseball stadium in MLK Park was another step.

    Denning streetscape and traffic lane changes is another step.

    The new library / events center is another step.

    “The Canopy” concept is the next step and is designed to lure more whites to the historically black MLK Park area, and encourage whites to move in the historically black neighborhood.

    By the way, all these ideas were “sold” to the blacks as things that would improve life in the neighborhood for the black people. And they do – for awhile that is. But then they see their neighbors selling to whites and moving out of the neighborhood. And they realize they don’t like life as much without their long time neighbors.

    The name change of Lake Island Park to Martin Luther King Jr. Park was designed to pacify the black population while the city attempted to steal their park for minor league baseball. That did not work thankfully. At least not yet that is.

    The idea for “The Canopy” came from a scheme that some in the academic world were enlisted to promote, where again, it is sold to the blacks as something good, but in fact it is designed to end traditionally black neighborhoods, so that they can be re-developed into homes for primarily white individuals.

    And just as they got a black architect to make blacks feel good about moving the new library and events center into their neighborhood, they have a black professor to sell the blacks on the Canopy idea that will essentially end the black neighborhood on the West Side as we know it. They’re belief is that blacks will be fooled if another black is a spokesman for any idea they want to force on the black population on the West Side. Here’s a video about it.


    Is “The Canopy” racist? Yes.

    Is “The Canopy”wrong? Yes.

    Will they do it anyway? That hasn’t stopped them before folks.

    But at least you know now why they do the things they do.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, Winter Park has never had a black mayor or a black city commissioner, despite a significant black population.

    Any City of Winter Park department heads black?

    Tell commissioners to “Vote No” on “The Canopy,” Vote “No” on racism.

  10. Alicia Homrich says:

    I was at the meeting when the “branding of the canopy” was presented. I love beautiful colors and graphics. I thought the whole idea of adding a name to an area of activity was ridiculous, along with the cost to have somebody design a color scheme and pick out a font design. I support the editorial in the comments that have been posted.

  11. Bill segal says:

    Thank you for your on point comment. Too often people hear something like this? Think it is ridiculous, but don’t want to be the “skunk at the picnic”. This name is ridiculous, not needed, and is another outgrowth of our Marketing culture being out of control. Sounds like they hired a consultant, and they had to come up with something. The Park and facilities have names and they speak for themselves.

  12. “Oviedo on the Park” says:

    Here are my suggestions for the future development I suspect will piggyback off the “brand”creation:

    “Profits Condos at the Canopy”
    “Den$ity Townhomes at the Canopy”
    “Shoehorned (but not Baldwin) at the Canopy”
    “Re$idences at the Canopy”
    “Cloisters, I mean Clusters, at the Canopy”
    “Multi family madness at the Canopy”

    Anyone think of another library with a “brand”? Didn’t think so. Just check out Oviedo on the Park on Google to see what I think the master plan is!

  13. Martha McHenry says:

    Remember when the City paid like $90,000 to some pr firm to rebrand Park Avenue? They went through a collage of magazine pictures that had the essence of Park Avenue. Then they came up with (drum roll,please!) “ParkAvenue: Everyday Exceptional”. This makes no sense unless one day monkeys in little red hats swing from lamp posts and the next day wild mustangs charge down the street and so on.

    The Canopy branding is just as foolish.

    • Nancy Christian says:

      Thank goodness for those of you paying attention to this sort of nonsense. Leave the “Winter Park Library” alone.

  14. Karen James says:

    Thank you Michael Perelman for your column. I agree with you too. I listened to the commission meeting when the Canopy name was presented, and I immediately thought it was ridiculous. I hesitated to speak out because I knew I would be called out as one of the “No” people. I am now pleased to see that people I like and respect share my opinion.

    • Why they call it "con" crete says:

      I’m waiting for them to tell us that the solution to the ground soil issues will be to fill up MLK Park with concrete.

      Then they will have building pads for their next projects already lined up.

  15. MLK Park: Where's the Beef? says:

    The Big Library Reveal: Less Really is Less

    It really doesn’t matter much what you call it or what color the graphics are. Whatever it is, it’s not what we were promised.

    The oft-repeated library campaign mantra was, “The greatest single need for our library is more space.” (See library campaign literature, 2/19/2016.) Now our citizens are learning the sad truth about a library that is shape-shifting into an altogether different proposal. We are settling for far less than the originally promised 50,000 sq. ft. Much less. The existing library is 33,800 sf. Revised plans for the ever-shrinking library part of this project will yield only 35,000 sf. — down from the previous projection of 39,450 sf; which was down from the original 50,000 sf. Net gain is about 1,200 sf., — roughly the size of a 3-car garage.

    Is this progress? Is this fiscal and programmatic stewardship? Is any of this ‘strategic?’ Once completed, will this project benefit our City?

    The library bond certification language for the “Library/Events Center/Parking Garage” designated three structures. That’s not what we are getting. Apparently due to lack of adequate funding, the parking structure dropped off the map. We are left with the “Flat Stanley” of parking ‘structures’ — a flat piece of pavement, which cannot accommodate projected needs.

    Isn’t the promised parking structure critical to the overall financial success of the entire project — not only for citizens of WP, what about the bondholders? Won’t the project become significantly stressed if this parking element is so drastically short-changed?

    Are Winter Park voters getting what they voted for? Rather than fussing with a name and a color scheme, time might be better spent revisiting the language of the bond certification.

  16. What's in a Name? says:

    MLK Park – Hiding in Plain “Site”

    I am reminded that the name of the 23 acre site at Denning and Morse, home of the planned new library/events center combo, is Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.

    For years now, successive City Commissions have vowed to honor their pledge by designing a memorial to honor the man for whom the park is named.

    First things first: it’s time to follow through on that pledge. It’s time to move the memorial design and concept forward and into reality. This community has been more than patient. The current park design calendar has further delayed this element, pushing it back into Phase II. Why is this?

    Please remember: Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, formerly Lake Island Park, was created by appropriating private residential parcels that once comprised the Westside neighborhood of Lake Island Estates.

    Knowing how much this community treasured and appreciated Westside advocates like Lurline Fletcher, it would be particularly fitting if this memorial and community appreciation would be put back on the front burner where it belongs.

  17. Jeanine says:

    To quote a former President, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.” Residents have been short changed here on size, purpose and fiscal discipline. This whole chapter is none other than a pork barrel concept dreamed up by Gucci-chasing leaders trying to impress people into thinking they NEED a new ‘world-class’ facility.

    Fawning all over a celebrity architect from Ghana who doesn’t quite understand Florida’s landscape or lifestyle, while dismissing a homegrown, noted deceased architect’s many treasures is the height of ignorance and hypocrisy.

  18. WP Triiva says:

    During his term in office, former Winter Park mayor Ken Bradley tried to recruit the minor league baseball team, Brevard County Manatees to move from their home in Viera, Florida, to a new professional sports entertainment stadium in Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

    The facility was to be shared by the Rollins College Tars baseball team and the Manatees.

    Following a citizen uprising objecting to the scheme, which included a petition signed by over 2,000 Winter Park residents, Bradley tried to move the team to Ravadage.

    Those plans also collapsed after the parties could not come to an agreement.

    In 2017 the Brevard County Manatees moved to Kissimmee, Florida’s Osceola County Stadium, and are now known as the Florida Fire Frogs.

  19. Where's the transparency? says:

    The Library and Events Center Task Force has posted minutes on the City website for only one meeting this year: the January 24th meeting. There have been six meetings since January 24th. Note that the Task Force meeting for May 2nd has been cancelled.


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